Daily Archives: January 2, 2008

Erik Sten Leaving Rainbow City Council. Three More to go…


First Tom Potter and now according to Willamette Week (here), Sten is leaving Mayor Moonbeam’s Rainbow City Council in April to go ?
Sten claims not to have a job, but with a new house and mortgage, a wife and a child, it seems he must have something in mind. Unless…is he now independently wealthy? Well, if he is, good for him! At the Victoria Taft blog we don’t oppose people merely because they’re rich.
Here’s my 2003 Brainstorm NW profile on Sten. I think you’ll find it illuminating. Some excerpts run below.

Are they applauding Sten’s decision to leave the council in April?

Here are a couple of ‘grafs from my piece on Sten in 2003.

On the Water Billing Scandal:

He brings it up to show he isn’t afraid to speak of it, but in truth, the Water Bureau could have (should have?) been Sten’s Waterloo. That it wasn’t must go down as a lesson in political spin and survival and voter a) forgiveness, b) apathy, c) stupidity. The Water Bureau was gushing money by the time Sten got fired from that assignment (Mayor Katz says Sten wasn’t fired, just reassigned in light of Charlie Hales’ departure). The Water Bureau still is gushing money and will be for a very long time.

The Water Bureau story is told in the local press as if it’s a budget-run-amok-debacle. It is. But it’s also a story of an environmental experiment gone bad. Too bad the Water Bureau couldn’t reduce, re-use, and recycle all the money wasted on Sten’s experiment. The problems started when the 28-year-old thought he should update the bureau’s billing system to charge more for large water users and less for people and companies that conserved.


On Dignity Village:

Dignity Village visited itself upon Portland in 2000 when a homeless activist came to town, chatted up the street people, set up camp downtown, and tried to pick a fight with the city, hoping to shame leaders into letting the rag tag band squat where they wanted. It worked.

“When they were camping under the Fremont Bridge, I made a strategic decision after going to the mayor that I would approach the villagers with compassion and not just sweep them out. What they wanted was a confrontation and I wasn’t going to do it. Lo and behold it grew into, not a solution for homelessness by any way, shape or form, but a pretty interesting and worthwhile project. I don’t think this is a substitute for transitional housing or shelters, but on the other hand I think the notion that people may be able to do something for themselves with dignity—it’s worth exploring. I mean, give me a little credit, I gave these guys a lousy concrete pad and they’ve gone out there and made it work. They’re not getting anything from the government.”

Sten arranged for donors to help pay for the use of the slab, arranged a Tri Met bus stop for them, let them plug their extension cords into city electrical outlets (which Villagers got donors to pay for) and got them Internet access. Columbia Sportswear should have had it so good.

Now Villagers have their own website, email addresses, a “Survivor”-like system of self-government, possess 501© (3) non profit tax status to better beg for donations, and lobby city hall on a host of issues, among them, the anti-war resolution recently reintroduced by Sten, which fell to defeat.

On de-funding the Portland Business Alliance:

The city collects [fees] for businesses and gives back part of it to fund the organization. In an attempt to attract shoppers to downtown, the city also gave the APP the job of running its so-called Smart Park garages. The deal was, the APP ran the garages and the city got a cut. After the merger, the new PBA had 41 employees and an $11 million budget, and among the assets was the garage deal.
After [Kim] Kimbrough had a few run-ins with Sten and Mayor Katz, however, something odd happened: the city, for the first time, asked the PBA to give it a full accounting of all the money. Kimbrough told the city to go pound sand and that’s when another odd thing happened: the city decided that, after all these years, it would be better for taxpayers if that Smart Park contract went out to the competitive bidding process.


Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Erik Sten Leaving Rainbow City Council. Three More to go…


First Tom Potter and now according to Willamette Week (here), Sten is leaving Mayor Moonbeam’s Rainbow City Council in April to go ?
Sten claims not to have a job, but with a new house and mortgage, a wife and a child, it seems he must have something in mind. Unless…is he now independently wealthy? Well, if he is, good for him! At the Victoria Taft blog we don’t oppose people merely because they’re rich.
Here’s my 2003 Brainstorm NW profile on Sten. I think you’ll find it illuminating. Some excerpts run below.

Are they applauding Sten’s decision to leave the council in April?

Here are a couple of ‘grafs from my piece on Sten in 2003.

On the Water Billing Scandal:

He brings it up to show he isn’t afraid to speak of it, but in truth, the Water Bureau could have (should have?) been Sten’s Waterloo. That it wasn’t must go down as a lesson in political spin and survival and voter a) forgiveness, b) apathy, c) stupidity. The Water Bureau was gushing money by the time Sten got fired from that assignment (Mayor Katz says Sten wasn’t fired, just reassigned in light of Charlie Hales’ departure). The Water Bureau still is gushing money and will be for a very long time.

The Water Bureau story is told in the local press as if it’s a budget-run-amok-debacle. It is. But it’s also a story of an environmental experiment gone bad. Too bad the Water Bureau couldn’t reduce, re-use, and recycle all the money wasted on Sten’s experiment. The problems started when the 28-year-old thought he should update the bureau’s billing system to charge more for large water users and less for people and companies that conserved.


On Dignity Village:

Dignity Village visited itself upon Portland in 2000 when a homeless activist came to town, chatted up the street people, set up camp downtown, and tried to pick a fight with the city, hoping to shame leaders into letting the rag tag band squat where they wanted. It worked.

“When they were camping under the Fremont Bridge, I made a strategic decision after going to the mayor that I would approach the villagers with compassion and not just sweep them out. What they wanted was a confrontation and I wasn’t going to do it. Lo and behold it grew into, not a solution for homelessness by any way, shape or form, but a pretty interesting and worthwhile project. I don’t think this is a substitute for transitional housing or shelters, but on the other hand I think the notion that people may be able to do something for themselves with dignity—it’s worth exploring. I mean, give me a little credit, I gave these guys a lousy concrete pad and they’ve gone out there and made it work. They’re not getting anything from the government.”

Sten arranged for donors to help pay for the use of the slab, arranged a Tri Met bus stop for them, let them plug their extension cords into city electrical outlets (which Villagers got donors to pay for) and got them Internet access. Columbia Sportswear should have had it so good.

Now Villagers have their own website, email addresses, a “Survivor”-like system of self-government, possess 501© (3) non profit tax status to better beg for donations, and lobby city hall on a host of issues, among them, the anti-war resolution recently reintroduced by Sten, which fell to defeat.

On de-funding the Portland Business Alliance:

The city collects [fees] for businesses and gives back part of it to fund the organization. In an attempt to attract shoppers to downtown, the city also gave the APP the job of running its so-called Smart Park garages. The deal was, the APP ran the garages and the city got a cut. After the merger, the new PBA had 41 employees and an $11 million budget, and among the assets was the garage deal.
After [Kim] Kimbrough had a few run-ins with Sten and Mayor Katz, however, something odd happened: the city, for the first time, asked the PBA to give it a full accounting of all the money. Kimbrough told the city to go pound sand and that’s when another odd thing happened: the city decided that, after all these years, it would be better for taxpayers if that Smart Park contract went out to the competitive bidding process.


Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com